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13 Jun 2018

SITE NEWS: EdjSports Acquires Football Outsiders

So, we have some big news.

* * * * * * *

LOUISVILLE, KY (June 13, 2018) – EdjSports, a data science and prescriptive analytics sports firm, has announced their acquisition of Football Outsiders.

Established in 2003, Football Outsiders has created in-depth NFL and NCAA advanced statistics including their proprietary DVOA and DYAR ratings. Football Outsiders’ editorial staff provides an intelligent viewpoint challenging conventional wisdom about the game and contributes regularly to ESPN Insider, in addition to identifying all-star players within the EA Sports Madden Ultimate Team and EA Sports Madden NFL Mobile games.

Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders’ founder, will remain Editor-in-Chief and oversee the site’s content and staff of writers.

“Football Outsiders pioneered advanced football statistics and we are excited about the innovation and support EdjSports will bring to their team. EdjSports’ best-in-class predictive analytics capabilities combined with Football Outsiders’ statistics and analyses will deliver revolutionary new products and tools for fantasy and market applications,” said Sean O’Leary, CEO of EdjSports.

"I'm really looking forward to being a part of the EdjSports team. EdjSports' in-game analytics are a perfect complement to Football Outsiders' general concentration on player and team strengths and weaknesses. Football Outsiders readers can feel good that all of their favorite columns and metrics will remain but with new opportunities to expand what we can do with them," said Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders Editor-in-Chief.

About EdjSports

EdjSports empowers smarter decision-making with proven predictive and prescriptive analytical models and custom software solutions in the sports industry. Our game-based approach analyzes pools of data, helping teams make critical call decisions based on the highest probability of achieving their goals. At EdjSports, we assist decision makers and enhance their ability to gain the competitive edge that ultimately impacts the bottom line: winning. For more information, visit www.edjsports.com.

* * * * * * *

OK, you guys probably have a lot of questions. Let's see if I can answer what are likely to be the most common ones.

  • You aren't going to see any immediate changes in the content at Football Outsiders. That's still the name of the website. All the writers are staying, all your favorite columns will be back for the 2018 season, and most important, we are not becoming a subscription website any time in the near future.
  • There will still be Football Outsiders Almanac 2018 sometime in mid-July. In fact, as of now we're a few days ahead of last year's schedule. (Knock on wood.) There will still be a 2018 KUBIAK fantasy football projections workbook as well. Premium subscription products should also stay roughly the same.
  • In the long term, EdjSports will deliver systems and user experience improvements, which will allow the FO staff to focus less on technical problems and more on delivering more and better NFL and college football content.
  • It's not just PR-speak for me to say that EdjSports analytics is a perfect complement to Football Outsiders analytics. The biggest gap in Football Outsiders analysis has always been an in-game decision making model. EdjSports' cofounders are creators of the NFL's first fully customized simulation model for in-game decisions.
  • Our relationships with ESPN and Sports Info Solutions remain strong.
  • If you want to learn more about EdjSports, you can read this New York Times article about their work with the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles.

-- Aaron Schatz

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 13 Jun 2018

30 comments, Last at 20 Jun 2018, 8:54pm by Rob Eves

Comments

1
by agauntpanda :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 2:11pm

Congratulations!!!

6
by Dan :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:23pm

+1!

2
by danplatt17 :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 2:29pm

Congratulations to the whole team!

3
by jtr :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 2:40pm

FO has been gaining lots of mainstream recognition lately (stats mentioned on major websites like ESPN and Deadspin for instance), glad to see that momentum turn into some money for the site. Looks like this move is all upside considering the staff is all staying, and it sounds like we might even be getting closer to a website overhaul as a result of this.

4
by Dave Bernreuther :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:03pm

Very much closer. Now there's a full team on it rather than, well, one person with a more than full time day job.

This is really absolutely going to be the best of all worlds.

5
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:07pm

Seems like all positive news, so Congrats.

Glad to have been around for the ride over all these years.

Honestly, it is sites like this that have kept my interest up in the sport after growing and up losing interest in hot take debates.

Keep on keeping on.

7
by Subrata Sircar :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:23pm

I am by nature very leery of acquisitions, because the things I value are not generally seen as large contributors to the bottom line, and hence tend to get short-shrift post-acquisition.

That said, as long you continue to keep well-written, interesting columns with that statistical focus front and center, and leave the infrastructure to the folks best suited for it, this could work out well for everyone.

May the future be all we hope it will be!

9
by serutan :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:42pm

"I am by nature very leery of acquisitions"

Me too. I sincerely hope this will work as advertised, but it won't keep me from being nervous for a while.

Also, is the main paged honked up for other people? Everything is in a single column on the left side, and some of the graphics are out of alignment.
______
Was wr

12
by LondonMonarch :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:57pm

Exactly.

I hope Aaron (and the team?) made some money out of this. Good luck to them.

I'm afraid I find it very hard to believe that it won't affect the identity of the site.

13
by Bryan Knowles :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 4:10pm

Believe me, this was my first concern as well. I've been through a couple of these acquisition things, and everyone always says "oh, everything will remain the same", and then the changes happen.

This time, however, I think there's very little to worry about. First and foremost, Aaron remains editor-in-chief. All the old stuff is coming back -- from things that are obvious fits for an analytical modeling company like the DVOA projections and Quick Reads to the less obvious fits like the inanity of Scramble. None of this is going away -- everything you've come to expect from us is coming back.

I think it also helps that this isn't a merger of two sites with major outward content -- we're not bashing together two groups of writers and editors, each with their own sets of priorities and styles. There's no compromising what we've been doing in order to fit someone else's model.

I think the identity of the site will remain intact -- or, at least, won't change any more than it has changed over the years just naturally.

15
by LondonMonarch :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 5:12pm

That is reassuring.

I guess I am most worried (especially after the loss of Tanier) about things like Scramble for the Ball, Four Downs and Extra Points.

I know that the really unique, first-class work FO does is in the really technical stats stuff, but I (and I am sure I am not alone) actually enjoy the discursive pieces more. I think that a key part of what's marked FO out as an "independent/outsider" site is that kind of idiosyncratic writing and egalitarian discussion, in addition to the "hard" stats work.

In particular these comments threads and the XPs are the site of a lot of informed, sensible football discussion that I can't find anywhere else on the internet - some of which is stats-based or stats-informed, but a lot of which is not, really. It is just polite and thoughtful.

Also, please don't underestimate the extent to which that kind of discussion is a gateway for bringing in intelligent, interested fans who are not necessarily numerically minded, to at least the fringes of your pure statistical work.

16
by Led :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 5:27pm

Indeed, the "softer" features, including the ones mentioned above and the best in quotes columns, audibles, etc., have also been instrumental in developing the readership into something of a community. I've read the site since I think 2004 and, although I don't comment myself much anymore, I appreciate the interaction in the comments, particularly the longstanding regulars. ("I've seen takes you people wouldn't believe...")

Big congrats to Aaron and the team.

18
by El Muneco :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 11:35pm

This. Even without any quantitative analysis at all, I'd show up just for Audibles. It's that side of the house that really distinguishes FO from the likes of PFF.

24
by justanothersteve :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:09am

Exactly. I was also worried when I first read this yesterday. But I'm feeling much better after reading the comments, both from the FO staff and regular contributors.

Congrats to Aaron and the rest, and here's to many more years of outstanding analysis and commentary.

25
by ChrisS :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:15am

Here's my best case for this. Aaron is now a billionaire, the site improves, more high quality content from the current writers and new insight from people at EDJ. Here's what I fear, trolls, current writers leaving, trolls, subscription required, EDJ moving DVOA into their models and letting this site molder, trolls. Probably all of thess bad things can't happen at once, but what I really fear would be a coarsening of the comments/discussions by the readers as I think I get nearly as much out the comments (and writer responses) as I do from the articles.

26
by jds :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:41am

Congrats Aaron. Small businessman's dream is to start something from scratch and build it to something that is saleable, and cash in. Well done.

As to trolls, which is hinted at in the above, I really hope you retained message board control and can enforce the one rule you have about posting. For general ESPN type trolls, we can always warn them about the FOMBC.

8
by jbird1785 :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:25pm

Congratulations!

In the long term, EdjSports will deliver systems and user experience improvements, which will allow the FO staff to focus less on technical problems and more on delivering more and better NFL and college football content.

I really hope this means a site redesign. It's 2018 and the site is useless on a phone.

11
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:51pm

Yeah - seriously. This website is a horrific miasma of security and accessibility issues, and it still sounds like Aaron and Co are doing things in Excel and doin the cut-and-paste thing.

A complete technological retooling is way overdue.

10
by PatsFan :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 3:50pm

Congrats! And I hope you get some decent scratch out of this, Aaron!

14
by johonny :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 4:21pm

Nice!

17
by notoriousmjm4 :: Wed, 06/13/2018 - 5:36pm

Does this mean you guys will have enough time to go back to doing a mid-season KUBIAK update after week 3 or 4?!?!? That would make fantasy players VERY happy!

19
by Theo :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 6:41am

Congrats!
The site needs some upgrades and the use of stats can be broadened. But it is also the reasin a lot of people here come back for more than 10 years now. Lots of interesting discussions about Robopunter and Catholic Match Girl.
I sutely hope things will stay the same with and upgrade here and there.

21
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 6:54am

Yes, catholic match girl. Rnedmner oen of my earlycomments onnthsi sitw was how good place tp talk foltball and look at hot chicks

20
by Theo :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 6:44am

Also... How to pronounce the Edj in EdjSports? As the first part of 'educated' like 'Edge'? Or ee dee jay' which would be a horrible nickname for anyone.

22
by jtr :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 7:36am

I assume it's "edge", as in their stats give your team an edge. They'd probably stylize it as EDGsports or something if they wanted it pronounced as initials.

23
by Jerry :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 8:34am

Congratulations, Aaron.

27
by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:43am

EdjSports - can you somehow bring back DPAR?

28
by PatsFan :: Fri, 06/15/2018 - 4:00pm

+1000

29
by RichardK :: Sat, 06/16/2018 - 4:51pm

Happy for Aaron and the whole team. The focus on the analytics will serve them well, versus dealing with the annoyance of site logistics. I always enjoyed getting a message directly from Aaron when I had an issue with the site or a subscription. It gave me a strong sense of his commitment and engagement. I have some apprehension with the corporate grab as I was unhappy with the evolution of Pro Football Focus when it was taken over by Collingworth. PFF drifted away from its core and at times was exorbitantly expensive. Hopefully, Aaron and the crew stay true to their roots. I will watch with interest.

30
by Rob Eves :: Wed, 06/20/2018 - 8:54pm

Hey I'm late to this party but big congratulations :) As long as your standards don't change I'm sure you will remain the best NFL analytics site on the net.